8 December 2014

Polly Checkland Harding
Photo of the theatre in the round and its colourful staircases

Introducing our Advent Calendar – here’s the eighth post in a cultural countdown to Christmas. Today: Alien plants and handmade craft.

Royal Exchange’s Christmas production isn’t festive in a traditional way – but it does look like enormous fun. Combine a lovelorn florist with a carnivorous alien plant and what do you get? No, not an odd cracker joke… Instead, Little Shop of Horrors, a sci-fi musical spoof from the 1950s that’s a “gory, scary, glitter and sequins treat,” according to director Derek Bond. Royal Exchange Theatre, 5 Dec-17 Jan, from £15.

Do more. There are plenty of food and drink options close to the Royal Exchange, but it’s also worth leaving time to explore the Christmas Jewellery and Craft Fair at the theatre’s own shop. There are stocking fillers and a wide range of handmade jewellery for sale.

Culture Guides


Northern flicks, sci-fi masterpieces and some brand new film festivals feature in this month’s cinema preview.


Spring weather might be dragging its feet a little, but the world of exhibitions isn’t slowing down with new shows popping up everywhere to greet the new season.


With two weeks off school and the sun finally rearing it’s head, April is the month to have fun with family and friends and make some amazing memories in readiness for summer term!

Jen Calleja


Books are most definitely back, with a whole host of live events by writers local as well as international, from pop-up performances to regular reading series, plus some hybrid festival specials and online launches allowing access wherever you happen to be.


From Father John Misty to The Flaming Lips, The Waeve to Big Thief, here are the gigs on our radar for early spring.

Theatre in Manchester and the North


You’ll find everything from work-in-progress scratch nights to multi-award winning musicals in this month’s theatre guide.

Classical Music

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Get ready for spring and summer with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

From indie markets to bit-sized meditation, spoon carving workshops to gallery tours, here are the headlines in the world of tours and activities.